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June 7, 2007

 

Ducks pretty mighty after all

Niedermayer Brothers hoist the Cup

Ducks

Associated Press/Kevork Djansezian
Anaheim Ducks Scott Niedermayer, right, and his brother Rob hoist the Stanley Cup after the Ducks defeated the Ottawa Senators 6-2 in Game 5 of Stanley Cup finals in Anaheim Wednesday.

By IRA PODELL
AP Sports Writer

ANAHEIM, Calif. — Scott Niedermayer has plenty of experience taking twirls around the ice with the Stanley Cup.
Handing it off to his kid brother, Rob, is a different story.
After three titles on the East Coast with the New Jersey Devils, leading the Anaheim Ducks to the first NHL championship in California history with his brother as a teammate felt pretty good, too.
“They’re all different,” he said after the Ducks beat the Ottawa Senators 6-2 Wednesday night to end the finals in five games. “People sometimes ask you to pick this or that or to rate. I’ve never done that. And I’m not going to start now. But this one is you can only dream of passing it to your brother. I never have.”
The Ducks were born on the silver screen and came of age by capturing the shiniest of silver cups. They dropped the mighty from their name, but not their game and skated off with the oldest prize in North American sports.
For the first time, the Stanley Cup can enjoy an NHL western home, and the Ducks’ victory came at the expense of Canada. The cherished trophy was born in Ottawa, but no team north of the border has won it since Montreal in 1993 — the same year the Ducks joined the league.
“Canada loves their hockey, and from what I heard out there, we have quite a few fans who love their hockey out here, too,” said Scott Niedermayer, a British Columbia native and this year’s Conn Smythe Trophy winner as playoffs MVP.
Calgary, Edmonton and now Ottawa — in its first trip since the Senators were reborn in 1992 — had three straight chances only to be done in by U.S. clubs from the sun belt. Tampa Bay, Carolina and Anaheim aren’t traditional hockey hotbeds but they have been the Cup’s warm weather homes since 2004.
Wayne Gretzky made the game a happening in Southern California when he came to Los Angeles in 1988, the Ducks made it legit two decades later. No longer Disney’s darlings, the Mighty Ducks’ movie days are gone and a victory rally awaits them Saturday.
Niedermayer brought his brother and teammates Teemu Selanne and Chris Pronger along for the ride for their first Stanley Cup. Rob Niedermayer, 16 months younger than his brother, is one of three Ducks left from the losing side in 2003 when Scott and the Devils captured their third title in Game 7.
Only Jean-Sebastien Giguere had something to smile about then when he earned the Conn Smythe. This was so much sweeter as he stopped 11 shots in the clincher. The biggest roar for him came when Antoine Vermette had the puck slide wide during a third-period penalty shot, the 10th in finals history.
Scott Niedermayer earned the MVP award many thought he deserved four years ago. After accepting it, he celebrated with Rob, a big reason he left New Jersey for Anaheim before last season. They are the first brothers since Brent and Duane Sutter of the Islanders in 1983 to win the Cup together.
“I don’t think I’ll ever have a better feeling,” Rob said. “I know he turned down a lot from New Jersey and he had a lot of fond memories there.
“I never touched it when he won. He’s won so much, but he’s never been a guy whose ever rubbed it in a guy’s face. He’s been rooting for me my whole career, and I’m just lucky to have him as a brother.”
Scott came back on the ice about two hours later and blew kisses from center ice to fans still partying in suites.
The 36-year-old Selanne, the Ducks’ leading scorer this season, waited 14 seasons to become a champion. Pronger was on Edmonton last season when the Oilers lost in seven games to Carolina. He returned to the lineup for the clincher after serving a one-game suspension.
A perfect finish after demanding a trade from Edmonton last summer.
“This is a special moment,” he said. “It’s always worth it when you win it.”
Pronger became a target because of his Game 3 hit on Dean McAmmond that knocked the Ottawa forward out of the series with a concussion and drew the one-game suspension. Pronger absorbed a hard shot behind the Anaheim net from Antoine Vermette in the first period, leaving him with a separated shoulder.
“I just kind of got hit awkwardly there and went into the boards funny and separated it,” Pronger told TSN of Canada.
He played the rest of the game, following a brief absence, before returning.
“I was going to be on the ice, no question,” he said.
Sticks and gloves flew in front of Giguere when it ended. Fireworks went off and streamers fell as the Ducks rushed off the bench to celebrate.
Selanne bounced on his skates and shook the Cup after Pronger handed it to him on the opposite side of the ice from where a banner dropped signifying the Ducks’ championship. Heavy showers of confetti fell to the ice.
“I was just like, ‘I couldn’t believe it, it’s going to happen,”’ said Selanne, who shed tears on the bench. “So much hard work, so many years to dream about that moment.
“There has been times I didn’t know if it was ever going to happen.”
Senators forward Daniel Alfredsson, the first European captain in finals history, came up short of his first championship in 11 seasons. He supplied all the Ottawa offense despite feeling the wrath of fans, who booed him all night in response to his shooting the puck at Scott Niedermayer in Game 4.
Andy McDonald started the scoring 3:41 into the first period with a power-play goal, his third tally in two games, and Rob Niedermayer made it 2-0 with 2:19 left. Travis Moen had two goals, one that never touched his stick and another in conventional fashion.
Alfredsson scored twice in the second period, including a short-handed goal that cut Anaheim’s lead to one for a second time, but the Senators couldn’t shake off a fluke goal that defenseman Chris Phillips put into his own net with a pass off the skates of goalie Ray Emery.
When Francois Beauchemin scored a power-play goal with 1:32 left in the second, the Ducks’ two-goal lead was back and the excited crowd anticipated an appearance of the Cup. By then it was just a matter of time for the Ducks, 8-0 at home in series-clinching games — including 4-0 this year. Anaheim is 6-0 at home during the finals.
“They had more depth than us,” Alfredsson said. “We tried to come back in the second period, but that didn’t last. It seemed like they were better than us.”
In the middle of the third, the buzzing and quacking crowd serenaded Emery, called for the polished Cup, and bellowed with delight after each whistle.
The Ducks proved too tough for the Senators with their hard-hitters and tight checkers. They shut down the Senators’ top forward line that was broken up despite holding the top three spots in NHL playoff scoring.
“We had some guys that didn’t play to what they were playing,” said Senators coach Bryan Murray, a former coach and GM of the Ducks. “I think that’s most disappointing and what we and they have to live with through the summer.”
Anaheim is the first West Coast city to lay claim to the silver chalice since Victoria of the Western Canada Hockey League defeated Montreal in 1925, two years before NHL clubs began exclusively playing for the Cup.
McDonald scored just after the first half of a 5-on-3 penalty expired, and Rob Niedermayer doubled the lead with 2:19 left in the period.
Alfredsson made it 2-1 at 11:27 of the second, but Phillips’ big mistake put the life back in the building. While being chased behind the net, he pushed a pass into Emery’s skates, and the puck found its way in with 4:16 left in the period.
But Alfredsson renewed Ottawa’s hope with a short-handed goal with 2:22 remaining. The good feeling was soon dashed when Beauchemin ripped a long shot past Emery 50 seconds later during the same power play.
Moen made it 5-2 with his second of the game and Corey Perry gave the Ducks a four-goal lead with 3 minutes remaining. Emery never looked comfortable in net, allowing six goals on 18 shots.
Jason Spezza scored 34 goals in the regular season, but had none in the finals.
“I knew if I didn’t play better it would be tough for us to win,” Spezza said. “It’s extremely disappointing to come this far and lose.”

 

 

 

Purple hue to state meet group

By TOM VARTANIAN
Staff Writer

As the local contingent converges on Dietz Stadium in Kingston for the New York State Division II Track and Field Championships Friday and Saturday, there will definitely be a purple haze as a half dozen of the eight local competitors will represent Dryden High School.
The six Purple Lions are seniors Matt Trevits, Rex Hollenbeck, Taylan Allmendinger, David Pargh, and Lindsey McCutcheon, plus sophomore Tara Brenner. Joining them on the Section 4 team is Marathon Central senior Erik Van Ingen, who has high aspirations clsing out a stellar scholastic career.
The lone Section 3 local competitor is Homer Central junior Heather Wilson, who continues to make state meets a habit in cross-country, indoor track and outdoor track.
Experience is a plus for five of the Dryden athletes.
Hollenbeck and Trevits (two outdoor, one indoor) are making their third state appearances, McCutcheon is making her second trip (one indoor), and Allmendinger and Pargh are both making their second outdoor trip.
The Purple Lion 4x100-meter relay team of Trevits, Hollenbeck, Allmendinger and Pargh are the top seed after a time of 43.25. The 4x100 quartet was second one year ago.
“The 4x100 guys are really peaking at the right time,” said Dryden coach Lee Stuttle. “They are all seniors and should not be bothered by the pressure. They have set goals all year and accomplished them all. The baton exchanges have been sharp and the guys are looking to win the Division II championship and qualify for the Federation Meet.”
Hollenbeck is the second seed (11.0) in the 100m dash, while Trevits is the fourth seed (22.61) in the 200m dash.
“Rex finished third as a sophomore and fourth last year in the 100,” said Stuttle. “He is undefeated this year and has had a remarkable season. He expects a top-three finish.
“Matt will be able to use his experience from the outdoor and indoor state meets,” Stuttle continued. “He should place in the top three in Division II.”

 

 

 

King Sub moves up with win

King Sub moved into a first-place softball tie with idle Amelia’s in the Cortland Fast Pitch League Wednesday night by beating Mr. B’s 16-5 in a five-inning mercy rule contest.
The Tavern stayed right behind the co-leaders with a 12-2 five-inning win over Central City Bar & Grill in the night’s other contest.
King Sub 16, Mr. B’s 5: Paul Sweger went 3-for-4 with three RBIs and a run scored for the winners, now deadlocked with Amelia’s at 4-1 atop the standings. Winning pitcher Jeff Carr chalked up seven strikeouts and allowed seven hits in 4 1-3 innings while helping his own cause by going 3-for-4 with two RBIs and four runs. Kurt Cameron went 2-for-2 with an RBI and Derek Howe 2-for-3 with a run for Mr. B’s.
The Tavern 12, Central City Bar & Grill 2: Winning pitcher Mike Holl (six hits and five strikeouts in four innings) also led The Tavern offensively, going 3-for-3 with a double, two RBIs and a run. Mark Kinner (double, two RBIs, two runs), Brian Taylor (homer, double, run) and Jamie Buck (RBI, run) all went 2-for-3 for the winners, now 5-2, while Jason Bennison went 2-for-4 with two RBIs and two runs.
Seth McMahon went 2-for-3 with a triple, RBI and run for Central City Bar & Grill.
Standings: Amelia’s 4-1, King Sub 4-1, The Tavern 5-2, Central City Bar & Grill 1-5, Mr. B’s 1-6